Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Week

This is a very special week in which we celebrate the death and resurrection of Christ our Savior.  Good Friday was a sober time to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice that God made for us on the cross.  It is easy to overlook how serious this event is because all too often we forget that the characters of the bible were real live people.  It is a NON-fiction book, not full of fictional tales, but real life people and their stories.  When we recognize that Jesus was fully man, and try to empathize with his journey we can see far better what a BIG DEAL this is.  He was betrayed by his friends.  He was brutally beaten.  Shamed.  Flogged.  And killed in a horrific and terrible way.  It is hard to conceptualize this type of torture.  But even if we can wrap our minds around these circumstances, we can't understand what it must have felt like as he died on the cross to feel the weight of the sin of the world.  Your sin, my sin.  It crushed him. 

"Father, why have you forsaken me?" 

It's because of our sin.  You know, when I tell a lie, or cheat, or steal.  When I talk bad about others.  When I don't honor my father and mother.  When I covet the nicer things that others have.  Those little sins.  They killed Jesus.  Is that too harsh?  Wasn't his punishment for my sins too harsh? 

There is a new little sin that has been plaguing me this week.  Help me out here...Is it a sin when we know something is wrong but do nothing about it at all? 

In our lesson on State and Government this week in the Truth Project we were challenged with this notion: as members of a democratic nation we are "partners" in our government.  To take it to a deeper level, when the government sins we are a part of that.  Their sins are our sins.  We have the opportunity to vote and help them to make the right decisions in that very democratic way, but we also have the opportunity in our country to stand up for what we believe.  To be vocal and not just write a check mark on a ballet. 

I shy away from political discussions.  Especially political viewpoints on Facebook.  (You may see where I'm going with this.)  This may be my one-sided view, but the way I see it-- on the other end of the spectrum there is little restraint for sending out political messages.  Those who oppose Christian views in politics tend to be bold and get heard on social media outlets.  While many like me say nothing at all.  But if we say nothing, is it the same as supporting what we don't believe?  If we are not part of the solution, does that make us part of the problem?  Does keeping silent translate into denying Jesus?

Jesus tells us in Matthew 10:33 "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven."

A very strong point the Truth Project makes is that God's design for the social structures of our world were made according to his nature.  And each social structure was purposed to stand separate and sovereign.  When the lines of these social structures begin to fade, blur and merge together we fall into a structure that is not according to the Nature of God.  These social spheres include Church, State and Family to name a few.  In our society the State has blurred the lines of Church and Family and has decided to help define what these two mean, apart from the bible.  As Christians is it OK to watch this happen and claim that there is nothing we can do and forfeit participation in the government?  Many times this is my approach.  To just stand separate and say, well I know what I believe and it doesn't really matter what the government does either way.

I feel like I am beating around the bush to keep from actually having to state what I believe.  (Continuing to sin by saying nothing at all) So here is my overall take on the issue at hand: Same Sex Marriage.  I believe fully in what the Bible says.  I do not pass judgment on the lifestyle choices of others.  But I do not believe that the government has the right to define what marriage is.  Marriage was created by God and defined clearly in the bible.  What is happening in our government right now is an example of blurred lines between social spheres.  The State is trying to define something that is not in their God-given power to define.  There is no basis for their definition other than the opinions of others.  I prefer my definitions to be raised from truth and a clear written code for how to live.  I don't always live according to the ways God has set forth so I do not expect others to live lives free of sin.  But I believe simply that we cannot redefine something like the infinite nature of God. 

I'm scared.  I'm frightened to state these beliefs.  I know and love many people that are fighting for same sex marriage to be legal, for equal rights for all.  I do not wish them to be unhappy, but as a follower of Christ my belief is that true joy lies in wait when you fully rely on God not the government.  I wish I were more eloquent in speech and written words that I could make my point in a way that would never hurt anyone, but I'm afraid today that might not be the case.  I feel convicted, nonetheless, to say what I believe.  Not just by changing my Facebook profile picture, but by explaining where the truth comes from.

And even as I write this sentiment, it seems that there is a bigger problem at stake than the current political structure of our time.  It is that in the midst of this very special week we are distracted by an issue that is apart from Christ's ultimate gift and sacrifice.  That instead of recognizing Ash Wednesday we were all too busy checking Facebook to see what side of the equation everyone stood.  And on Good Friday, instead of reflecting on Christ on the Cross I was busy chatting with my friends about this very issue and gleaning wisdom about what I should do.  Should I share my thoughts or not?

But today on this Saturday, the day before our King will rise, I am done worrying about politics and I will sit in anticipation of the coming Christ.  For He Is Risen.  He Is Risen Indeed.  And we know that he will come again and these matters of our world will be no more.  He loves us enough to promise eternal life with him in heaven.  No matter what side of the equation we stand, we can be sure that he died for us and if you believe in him and repent of your sins, you too will be saved. 

God calls us to love one another, because he first loved us.  And I hope you each know how much I do love you.  I don't mean this post to be negative or controversial.  On the contrary, I just mean to share God's love with all of you.

1 Corinthians 13:13 "And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love."

Happy Easter!

John 9:35-41 Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, and went and found him. He asked him, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?”  

The man said, “Point him out to me, sir, so that I can believe in him.”  

Jesus said, “You’re looking right at him. Don’t you recognize my voice?”  

“Master, I believe,” the man said, and worshiped him.

Jesus then said, “I came into the world to bring everything into the clear light of day, making all the distinctions clear, so that those who have never seen will see, and those who have made a great pretense of seeing will be exposed as blind.”

Some Pharisees overheard him and said, “Does that mean you’re calling us blind?”

Jesus said, “If you were really blind, you would be blameless, but since you claim to see everything so well, you’re accountable for every fault and failure.”

Friday, March 29, 2013


Yesterday was one of the best days I have had in a long time!  It wasn't too far out of the ordinary, but all the pieces combined created for a very terrific day.

For starters, the sun decided to shine.  It wasn't perfectly warm, but warm enough.  Brittney and Harper, and Eleanor and me ventured out for a walk around Birkdale after bible study and I didn't even wear a coat!

Thursdays are always typically really awesome days because of bible study.  I am really enjoying The Truth Project, but also the community of women, and especially the worship experience.  I went in yesterday morning a little overwhelmed by a baby who wouldn't nap and a puppy who wouldn't pee, but I left so much lighter and joyful.

And while that baby wouldn't nap, she did sleep.  On Tuesday night we began a new routine.  On Wednesday night she improved and last night was even better.  All this for a separate post, but I am happy that we have been able to draw on the experience of others, use what works for us, and create a sleep system (so far) that is getting us closer to where we need to be.  (Spoiler alert: I slept for 7 peaceful, straight hours last night!)

And all that sleep last night was much needed after the very fun evening we had.  My friend Katie hosted a jewelry party "open house" meaning you could come or go anytime between 4pm and 7pm.  She also invited Alex to hang out with Adam and so the whole family headed over a little after four.  Rather than come and go as we pleased...we came and stayed as we pleased.  Sipping wine, eating snacks and chatting until nearly 9pm!  I believe we were there long enough for Eleanor to have two naps and eat about five times!  I am so blessed with amazing friends.  We just sat and chatted for hours and it never gets dull.  Of course the wine and food helps, but the company is where it is at! 

All that and nary a single photo from the day.  (BAD BLOGGER!)  I suppose I was having too much fun.  I am so disappointed to not have captured the day in photos, so of course I had to capture it in words.  Next time I get together with friends I vow to not let the time pass without a picture of us!

And one last thing making yesterday stellar...did I mention it's Spring Break!  Alex is off work for the next 10 days!  The sun is shining and life couldn't be better. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Fitness Failure

I took on a challenge at the beginning of March thinking it was totally achievable.
This should have been a realistic goal, but as we close in on the last few days of March I'm here to tell you that I failed miserably. 

Week 1 and Week 2 were successes.  I made every workout except one cycle class.  I was optimistic.  Then in Week 3 Eleanor became sick.  Childwatch at the gym was not an option.  I could go after Alex gets home in the evenings but I have never been one to stick with night time workouts.  The demands of being a mom, working part time, and my selfish nature luring me into pure relaxation once Eleanor is asleep kept me from achieving all but one workout last week. 

So Monday rolled around again and I vowed to make it up.  I was going to beat this challenge!  And then Monday I was sick.  And then Tuesday I was busy.  And now on Wednesday we are really trying to work on Eleanor's sleeping and leaving the house just isn't happening.  And thus we are half-way through another week and I am lagging. 

I know the longer I stay away from the gym, the harder it will be to go back.  I understand that working out is good for my overall well-being, spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally.  When I fall off the wagon it becomes easy to question why I should workout at all.  Sure I'd like to lose another 2 or 3 pounds of baby weight.  Sure it makes me feel accomplished.  But isn't it enough that I push a stroller and carry a chunky baby all day long?  So today I'm questioning whether or not I want to jump back on the wagon.  Will I force myself into a short and simple workout tonight to make it happen?  Or will I give in to another day sans sweat?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lemon Surprise Muffins

Wait! Can it be?  Is this a recipe? Do you know it has been longer than a full year since I have posted a recipe on this blog?  Yes, it's true.

My inspiration for this recipe came out of desperation.  I needed a fast and easy snack for a play group I was hosting this morning.  Lately I have been relying far too much on convenience foods and baked goods from the grocery store.  I really wanted to provide something homemade today. But I also didn't want to run out for ingredients.  I remembered I had a little leftover lemon pie filling from last week's lemon bars and thought they would be a delicious addition to an ordinary muffin recipe.  If you don't have lemon pie filling on hand I'm sure an apple pie filling or even jam would be perfect here.

Lemon Surprise Muffins

by Tanya Kummerow
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (12 muffins)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance Spread
  • 1/2 cup lemon pie filling
Preheat oven to 400° F.
Melt Earth Balance spread in the microwave for 30 seconds until melted. Set it aside at room temperature to cool, but don't let it solidify again.
Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and then add the sugar, soy milk and vanilla to the eggs. Add cooled butter.
In separate bowl combine the flour, baking powder and salt.
Add dry ingredients to the liquid and mix until just combined. The batter should be visibly lumpy, and you may see pockets of dry flour.
Thoroughly grease a muffin pan (or use paper muffin liners).
Scoop a tablespoon of the batter into each of 12 muffins. Top batter with a teaspoon of lemon pie filling. Try to center the lemon filling.
Top with another tablespoon of muffin batter and spread to completely cover lemon pie filling. It is ok if it doesn't completely just won't be a surprise (as in the photo!)
Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
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I think the moms at my play group enjoyed these fun morsels.  I know Alex and I certainly did.  Next time I may try to make them even healthier.  Maybe less sugar, more whole wheat flour.  Let me know how you like them if you try this trick with the lemon pie filling. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Spring Fever

The weather was bleh! this weekend.  Therefore my mood was pretty bleh as well.  I am certain I suffer from a slight case of Seasonal Affective Disorder.  In any case, I am experiencing a serious bout of Spring Fever.  Hurry sunny skies and warm temperatures.  Hurry.  (As I would say to Eleanor..."Mommy needs you!")

To lighten the mood from a very gloomy weekend, let me tell you the ways in which Alex and I have become the most annoying parents ever...

#1 We refer to each other as mommy and daddy way too often (as evidenced by my comment above).  We are obnoxious.

#2 Along that same note, we talk to each other through our baby.  "Your daddy needs to do this, or Your mom should see this."  Yuck!

#3  Everything we say becomes a sing-song conversation.  I have to catch myself when talking to adults.

#4 I talk about Eleanor all day everyone!  About everything.  I can hear her saying already "Stop talking about me mom!"

Yup, we are those parents!

So how was your weekend?  Your weather?  In all it was a pretty fun couple of days.  We cooked some delicious at home meals.  I even made homemade hamburger buns!  We tried to get out of the house as much as possible, even hitting the park twice on this blustery weekend.  But if spring doesn't come fast I may not make it through many more of these gloomy days!  Happy Monday friends! 

Friday, March 22, 2013


I made mention to Eleanor's sleeping habits when I posted A day in the life last week.  Unfortunately it just hasn't gotten any better.  So for weeks we have been loosely seeking a sleep solution.  And I mean very, very loosely.  We talk about ways to improve our nights, we implement them in small ways, but I am nowhere near making huge adjustments. 

I picked up the book "No Cry Sleep Solution," and one of the things it mentions is asking yourself the question, "Do you really want to see change?" 

What? Of course we want this to change.  Of course we want to sleep through the night. 

But really, do I?  When I asked myself this question, I realized that I actually enjoy that I am needed by Eleanor at night.  I am not sure that I want her to sleep through the night.  Can't I have it my way and just have her wake up a time or two? 

So here in lies the problem with any change...Do I really want it to happen?  Currently our routine looks like this:

Bedtime: 7-8pm
Awake to nurse: 10pm
(sometimes it takes  a little coaxing and some fussing to get back to sleep, so she is out again anywhere from 10:15-10:30, and some nights even closer to 10:45pm)
Awake to nurse: 1:30am
Awake to nurse: 4am
Awake to nurse: 6:30am
(usually I get her back to sleep and then I am up for the day, shower, eat breakfast)
Awake for the day: 7-7:30am

That's a lot of up and down in the middle of the night.  One small change I made this week to help me feel like I was getting better sleep was to sit up and nurse her.  I used to lay her down beside me and let her nurse as I would fall back asleep.  It may seem that I could get more sleep this way, and the tired crank in me really needs to do this sometimes.  However, if I fall asleep nursing her, then we both wake back up 20 minutes later, switch to the other side, wake up another 30-40 minutes later, place her back in her bassinet, and then within an hour we start the routine all over again.  Therefore, it felt like nursing was all I was doing all night long.  This small change of forcing myself awake, sitting up to nurse her, switching sides and putting her back down takes all of 15 or 20 minutes.  Then I can grab a chunk of two or three hours of sleep before I have to do it all again.  It may not be more sleep, but it feels like it because of the larger chunks.

So back to the question: Do I really want to see change?  Honestly, I am only frustrated by our current situation because she used to be able to sleep for longer stretches.  I can still get through a day with energy and am usually positive throughout.  But, we had at least a solid month where she was sleeping 6-8 hour stretches.  I am just confused why it regressed.  If she used to be able to sleep for longer, why can't she now.  Is it something I'm doing, or is it natural?

One interesting reason (suggested by my friend Elizabeth) could be reverse cycling: where a baby will nurse more frequently at night than during the day.  Kelly Mom explains why babies will act this way:
  • Distractible (and/or very active) babies or toddlers may nurse more at night to make up for missed or shortened nursing sessions during the day.
  • If mom is very distracted or busy during the day, baby may nurse more at night to make up for missed or shortened nursing sessions, or simply to get more uninterrupted time with mom.
  • If mom is away from baby during the day, baby may take just enough milk (by bottle or cup) to “take the edge off” his hunger, then wait for mom to return to get the bulk of his calories. Baby will typically nurse more often and/or longer than usual once mom returns. Some mothers encourage reverse cycling so they won’t need to pump as much milk. Reverse cycling is common for breastfed babies who are away from mom part of the day, especially those just starting out with the bottle.
I fall into every single one of these categories unknowingly.  As Eleanor has become more aware of the world around her, she is a feisty little eater.  She wiggles and squirms and I'm sure her nursing sessions are not as long as they used to be or as filling.  There are probably less sessions as well.  I notice at night she is much more calm, and nursing for longer periods of time. 

Second, we are out of the house so much during the day and while I am not shy about nursing in public, if it isn't convenient, I may not be pushing it as much as I used to.  Finally, while she is at Shannon's I don't mind if she goes longer without eating, because that means less pumping I need to do.  And I.HATE.TO.PUMP.

All roads lead to one conclusion: it is my fault she isn't sleeping longer stretches at night because she isn't getting enough food during the day.  She is clearly trying to make up for lack of calories and waking up more often to eat.  Case and Point: yesterday at Shannon's she didn't take a bottle until after 1pm.  The girl hadn't eaten since 6:30am!  It wasn't Shannon's fault, Eleanor was just so distracted.  She clearly had calories to make up for last night!

I am realizing that if I want nights to change, our days need to also change.  This scares me because I enjoy our busy little days.  I like getting out of the house and running around.  But Eleanor is so distracted and so am I.  And she is a growing little chunk who needs her milk.  So for now I will be reading up on tips to handle reverse cycling and perhaps implementing them into our days.  I will also be embracing our nights with a little more grace because after all, I am the only one who can make the decision to change them.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday--Green Day

What I Ate Wednesday, St. Patrick's Day Style.

I started with a small slice of leftover pizza (cold) and a fried egg, thanks to my hubby.  I really am a lover of Papa Murphy's veggie pizza!

We went grocery shopping after breakfast and picked up a loaf of Cinnamon Monkey Bread from the bakery leftovers (i.e. cheap, cheap, cheap.)  It wasn't long after we were home that I inhaled a slice, toasted with a slab of butter.
In honor of the holiday, I opted for the greenest lunch I could find.
This green monster was packed with spinach, a frozen banana, peanut butter, oats, and even more spinach.  Topped off with soy milk.  I drank it in a frosty mug which turned the bottom into more of an ice cream consistency.  When I got there, I poured granola all over the "ice cream" and ate it up with a spoon.  It was delightful!

 After lunch I started baking to kill the time.  I made this loaf in the bread maker, topping it off with "everything" topping.  I can't resist a warm slice of bread fresh from the "oven."  I sliced off a piece with another slab of butter and relished each bite.
I washed it all down with a handful of chocolate chips and then proceeded to nap for an hour!  I never nap and it was glorious.

For dinner we cooked up a delicious Mexican feast.
Starters included chips and salsa with guacamole.
I found this dinner recipe on Ashley's blog at Edible Perspective.  It was full of flavor and delicious!  I wanted to eat every last bit of carmelized onions and peppers but opted to save room for these:
Found in our freezer, saved from a couple Sundays ago when we were abundant with desserts but couldn't resist nabbing a few of Whitney's cupcakes.  On the side my "green" beverage of choice for St. Patty's Day:
A glass of white wine (hey! at least it came in a green bottle!)

That's all!  A day of wonderful eats!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Just Wait.

Psalm 27:14 

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord

I have a hard time writing this post.  No matter how the words go in my head, even to me they seem cheesy and irrelevant.  I hear myself saying all the typical comebacks: it's coincidence, it's chance or no silly, you did that yourself.

But I assure you (and myself) that there is no real coincidence in life.  And I truly could not have done this on my own.  Because ultimately all our steps are ordained by God.  He is watching out for us and over us.  And so when something seems to be a pretty awesome coincidence, it is really just Him ordering our blessings.

Alex and I have been in constant prayer over a new car.  And even as I type this I have to push aside that part of me that says, silly you, God doesn't care about your new car.  Because we know that he does.  We know that God cares about each and every minute detail of our lives.  And yes, he cares about my new car.  Ultimately, he cares whether I am following him and waiting on him.   

I have been reading through the bible this year, starting in the Old Testament.  Let me tell you, those first few books can get mighty boring.  So much detail.  So much repetition.  The geneaology lines and the laws, over and over again.  When you think that God doesn't care about the details, take a glimpse through Numbers.  He cares.

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. 

So as I was saying, Alex and I have been diligently praying for God's will in our lives, specifically in concern with a new car.  My patience was wearing thin as a one-car family and I have been anxious for months about replacing the car I totaled in February of last year.  Through experience, I knew that God didn't want us to make a rash decision.  He had asked me specifically to wait.  He would provide.  
Slowly, one-by-one, pieces began to fall into place.  I had asked my small group to pray with us, and the women's bible study group that I meet with every other week.  I wasn't asking for prayers for a brand new free car.  But prayers for patience as we discerned God's will.  As we waited, we realized we really didn't want car payments.  We needed to pay cash, and somehow it would all work out.  So we also prayed for provision.

Psalm 27:14 

Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord

As we waited, opportunities began to arise that reassured me that God's will was not for us to be bound by car payments.  A friend offered us an opportunity to purchase her used car for a reasonable amount.  We continued to wait.  We didn't have the money then and we wanted to make sure it was the right situation.  

On my birthday Alex and I took our taxes in and came out happy and surprised.  There was enough coming back to us that would afford us a car.  We played with the idea of getting a new car and putting a hefty down payment on it, reducing a monthly payment down to just a few hundred dollars.  I liked that idea in theory.  A new car.  Sweet!  But car payments.  Eck!  We went back to the idea of purchasing the car from our friend.  We were nervous and continued to pray.  We had to wait for the tax money to come in anyhow, so waiting was all we could do.  Waiting and praying.

Our friend's timeline was pushed up as they found a great deal on their new car.  Now it was decision time.  We looked at other used cars.  Was this the right one?  This was the friend who leads our women's bible study, who I had first asked to pray with me for patience over our one-car situation.  This was the friend who prays with me over the phone when things get hard, and encourages me and holds me accountable.  I could trust this friend.  And I could trust that God was also using her to solve a situation in my life. 

With their timeline pushed foward we decided to test drive the car and ultimately decided to purchase it.  We were just waiting on our tax money.  Could be weeks.  So we waited.  But when I went to check our bank account yesterday I was surprised to learn the tax money had been deposited.  It was already available and we were able to purchase the car immediately.     

Lamentations 3:25 

The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.

One could argue that God didn't "provide" because we had that tax money coming back to us anyway.  One could argue that the timing was not significant, we should have known it would only take a week or two to receive our money.  But I would argue that it was God ordering our steps and leading us to this very wise decision.  We waited on God.  And we now have a second car.  

Psalm 33:20-22 

Our soul waits for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. For our heart is glad in him, because we trust in his holy name. Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you. 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Saint Patrick's Day

Happy belated St. Patrick's Day friends!  This may be one of my all time favorite holidays.  For starters it is the birthday of the great and wonderful William Emde, my one and only brother!  And this year was special...his 21st!
This photo snapped by my sister Diana of William ordering his very first legal drink. 

Year's ago we all made a pact to be there on this special day.  Of course, this was before Eleanor came along and after long and careful thought I decided I couldn't fly home for the weekend.  It was sad not to be with him but I'm certain he had a good time without me.
My two sisters drove out to see him and we skyped yesterday to wish him a Happy Birthday.  I love you brother.  There isn't much that would keep me away from you on such a special day.  Maybe just one thing to be exact.
Eleanor was sick over the weekend.  Alex and I had big plans to take her down to Charlotte for the parade on Saturday, and then do a little bar hopping with baby in the Ergo.  This day is so very significant also because a year ago on St. Patty's Day we found out this little nugget existed.
Last year, Alex and I went to Charlotte for the St. Patty's Day festivities and I was feeling completely off.  All I wanted was sparkling water to drink and greasy onion rings to eat.  Considering I was currently doing the 7 Foods Fast, it was a struggle to allow my body to do what it wanted.  The whole day I kept questioning myself and so finally at the end of the day we hit the store and I picked up a pregnancy test.

Alex's face was priceless.  What is that for? I don't know, but I feel weird, and there is no explanation.  At home the plus sign turned up immediately and our eyes popped out of our heads.  Give me the directions, I demanded.  Two days and eight tests later we were convinced, and ecstatic beyond belief.
This was the photo that made it to the blog on St. Patty's Day when I mentioned we had a special celebration and went out to dinner at Flat Iron.  That was the day I quit the fast and began to eat nothing but starchy carbs.  The morning sickness hit fast and the next four months of life are a blur. 
This is the photo that didn't make it to the blog.  Five weeks pregnant.  And so overjoyed.  (That dress would never fit these boobs today!)
Our home was barren.
Our bedroom wiped clean.

This was not the plan.  But what a better plan it was!
We learned the hard way that plans change.  But this year, when our St. Patty's Day plans were thwarted, we rolled with the punches.  Instead of the parade we leisurely cooked a stack of pancakes.
I enjoyed a fast run with Jenna and a bike ride with Emily.
My first ride of the year!

We cleaned house and ordered a pizza.  Yup, a Papa Murphy's pizza.
We also stopped for "green" beverages and Five Guys french fries.

On Sunday we skipped church since Eleanor was still running a fever and not feeling well.
I did some baking and ate as many green foods as I could find.  We walked and lounged.  It was a long, relaxing weekend.  Not quite the plan, but 100 times better!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tap's Pourhouse & Eatery--Mooresville, NC

A new grill opened up in Mooresville yesterday and I couldn't wait to see what it was all about.  In the plaza where others have failed before them, Tap's opened with a fresh menu and new concept.  It is still a sports bar, but this eatery boasts an eclectic menu and large selection of beers.  I had high expectations and was hoping for the best.

I visited Tap's with my friends Angie and Susan.  I'll be the first to admit that Mooresville's selection of restaurants is limited.  We have many restaurants, just not ones I want to eat at...think Chili's and O'Charley's.  I prefer to eat at locally owned diners.  So this was an obvious choice when finding somewhere to eat lunch with my friends.  And because opening day was Thursday, I was excited that Angie would get to try it out with me before she left.
We started with a basket of "Pickle Fries."  Many others have done the pickle chips before but this is a new take on one of my favorites.  The pickles are cut into "fry" shapes and deep fried.  I love the batter used on these pickle fries and would highly suggest them.  The fries were great on their own, but I did dip a few into their Chipotle Buttermilk dressing and it was great.  I had anticipated just an ordinary Southwest Ranch, but this was way better!
We moved on to entrees next and I ordered the BLT and A sandwich with a side of Sweet Potato Tots.  I had high hopes for this sandwich: smoked beets, arugula, tomato and avocado with goat cheese served on a baguette.  From the beginning I knew the baguette was a bad idea and thought about switching it out.  Alas, I decided to stick to the menu's offerings and wound up very disappointed.  The baguette was overwhelming for the veggies and I ended up peeling it away and eating the veggies with my fork.  I wish the sandwich was served on toast like an ordinary BLT.  The concept is wonderful.  The smoked beets were amazing.  But overall, the sandwich was underwhelming.  I made my suggestion to the manager...maybe they will follow up. 

There isn't much to say about the tots.  You know me and tots.  And post-pregnancy, sweet potato is back in my life for good.  So I had no issues with these.  They are served with a side of tomato jam that is amazing.  Again, I prefer my tots to stand alone (just as I do my pickle fries) but I couldn't help but scoop up every last bit of tomato jam from its dish.

Angie ordered the Fish and Chips and Susan had the "Pittsburgh" sandwich.  Both also found faults with their dishes but enjoyed their meals overall.  The fries came a little under seasoned, and the sandwich didn't have the punch of a typical "Pittsburgh." 

The menu was very intriguing at Tap's Pourhouse and Eatery.  Other menu items I'm dying to try include the vegan barley patty in place of any burger and the Bacon Caramel Popcorn.  Yum!  I think this would be a great pick to watch NCAA tourney and get a few sides or shares.  They have great offerings like Grit Fries, Fried Chicken Skins and Pork Belly Tacos.  And while the vegan options may be limited they are enticing. 

The prices are a little high for an ordinary lunch out.  For lunch with friends it was ok, but I wouldn't recommend it for your daily lunch.  At $10 for most sandwiches and $16 for entrees you could go broke eating out here everyday.  I would love to see a lunch menu developed with items in the $5-$6 range to draw in more of a lunch crowd.  However, for dinner, I think it is just fine.

We ended our meal with a dessert...because who can resist Coffee and a Donut when it is really a Glazed Krispy Kreme Donut Bread Pudding, served with Deluxe Espresso Ice Cream and Dulce de Leche.
 The bread pudding wasn't what I was expecting but still delightfully tasty.  Overall I would rate our experience fair.  A little underwhelming, but how could it not be when I walked in with such high expectations.  I would (and will) eat here again and again.  It sure beats out some of the alternatives in Mooresville.
And they have bendy straws!  A win in my book!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A day in the life of...

Let me preface this by saying this will likely be a very atypical day for us.  We have some fun plans, and changes in our schedule today.  But since baby girl has surpassed four months, and has her four month check-up is today, I wanted to capture what it is like to live in our lives.  Someday I may look back on this laugh.  Today, all I can do is laugh at my sleep-deprivation!

Let's go back to last night to begin our day.  Because frankly it all really begins (not ends) with Eleanor's bedtime.

7:45pm- she is happy and content in her daddy's arms, but we know that won't last long.  If we miss our window of opportunity, she will be a fireball of a mess.  Alex takes her upstairs, swaddles her and lays her down in her bassinet.

8:15pm- she stirs and Alex runs up the stairs to replace her pacifier and ease her back to sleep.  This happens several more times.  Something is up.  This doesn't usually happen.

9:00pm- finally I head up the stairs, deciding to nurse her and put her back down.  Alex and I watch the finale of Top Chef Season 9.

11:00pm- Alex and I finally retire to bed.

12midnight- She's stirring, we put the pacifier back in.  She stirs again, I nurse her.

1:30am- Fussing again, this time I think Alex soothes her.

2:30am- She awakes again, I nurse her.

3:00am- She is crying again.  This time Alex grabs her and lays down with her in bed.  They catch one very restless hour of sleep.

4:00am- Alex puts her back in her bassinet, but not for long.  She is up crying again within a few minutes.  I notice she is feeling very warm so Alex grabs the thermometer and we get a reading of 100.5.  What does that mean?  I grab the laptop and start doing some research while Alex tries to get at least a few hours of sleep before work.  I decide she is ok and nurse her and put her back down to sleep.  By now I am having trouble sleeping and doze off sometime around 5am.

5:15am- she's moving and fussing again, I try unsuccessfully to sleep with her in my arms.  Back to the bassinet, back to my arms, back to the bassinet and then finally...

7:00am- I nurse her again and I am up for the day.  Alex comes in to kiss us goodbye.  I try to get Eleanor to go back to sleep (she's been staying in bed until about 8am these days) but she doesn't go back to sleep.  She lays quietly in her bassinet while I brush my teeth, make the bed and start a load of laundry.

7:30am- I grab her out of the bassinet and take her to change her diaper and get her dressed for the day.  We smile at each other.  She is in good spirits despite still feeling warm.  Wake-ups in the morning are my favorite time with her.  She is sweet and flirty, grinning from ear to ear.  We talk and chatter while I change her diaper, put lotion on her, and check her temperature again: 100.6.  Can she be teething?

7:45- I lay her down on her playmat in the nursery while I run downstairs.  I let Penny out of her crate while I start on breakfast.  I run upstairs to check on Eleanor and then take Penny outside while my eggs are cooking.  Back inside I run up the stairs again to peak in on baby girl, and then back downstairs to assemble my plate.

8:00- Bringing the puppy and breakfast upstairs with me, I sit on the floor watching Eleanor struggle to roll over (why is it so hard when she has clearly done it a bazillion times already!)  Baby girl has tummy time, momma checks her phone, and Penny sits patiently at my feet, surprisingly not begging for food.

8:15- Eleanor is fussy, I take her outfit back off (silly me for getting her dressed) swaddle her up and lay her down for a nap.  It's early but she had a rough night.  Let's see how long she sleeps!

8:15-9:05- I rush around to get the things done that I want!  Shower, shave, lotion, take the stinkin' finger nail polish off my chipped nails, start another load of laundry.  Those 45 minutes go by fast because soon she is moving around again.

9:05am- Eleanor stirs.  I give her paci back to her and decide she is ok chilling in her crib a few more minutes.  I take the pup outside again (cross my fingers no accidents today), clean up my mess in the kitchen, braid my hair, and retrieve Eleanor from her crib.

9:15am- I change Eleanor's diaper and try to put her down on the bed while I get laundry out.  She is not having it.  Looks like we will have a needy morning.  I wrap her up in the Moby so I can try to be productive.  The poor girl really just needs some good sleep.

9:45am- Eleanor is fussing and I decide it's time to nurse her again.  Shortly after, Angie and I decide to head to the grocery store before meeting Susan for lunch.

10:15am- Healthy Home Market...samples and shopping!

11:45am- Arrive at Taps Pourhouse for lunch.  Eleanor snoozed a little on the way but has essentially missed a nap completely.  It is opening day for Taps and lunch was good, but a bit underwhelming.  Eleanor pretty much breaks down in the middle.  She is at an age where it is difficult to sleep with distractions.  She calms down and hangs out in her seat while we eat.  I can tell it is going to be a long day!

1:30pm- we leave lunch and rush home where Angie takes the pup outside and feeds her lunch while I nurse Eleanor.  We say goodbye as Angie heads off (we had an amazing visit with her!) and Eleanor and I head off to pick up Alex from work.

2:00pm- Alex jumps in the car and we book it to Eleanor's four month well check.  She is 15 pounds and 25 inches long.  She ranks around the 75th percentile for most everything.  She is a chunk!  By the end of her appointment she is really starting to lose control.  By the time we have pulled out of the parking lot she is fast asleep.

3:15pm- Home again.  Alex puts Eleanor down for a real nap.  Finally.  While Alex and I catch up on our days.  It's nice to be home with him so early in the day!

4:00pm- We both settle in for some work.  I munch on a bowl of granola that I picked up at the store for 99 cents a bag! 

4:45pm- baby is still snoozing, so Alex and I jump up to prep dinner.  We are making Vegan Pot Pie.  We chop veggies side by side and get the dish in the dinner.  Alex takes Penny outside for some exercise and play and soon after I hear the baby stir.

5:15pm- Eleanor is awake and I nurse her while catching up on blog reading.  Did you hear Google Reader is shutting down?  I use my email RSS feed to read blogs so it doesn't make much difference to me...that is unless you read my blog through Google Reader.  Then I suggest you run out and find an alternative.  You don't want to miss anything here!

5:45- Dinner is done, we dish it out and Eleanor plays in her swing while we savor our meal.  In reality, it takes us all of 10 minutes to finish off our plates.  The pot pie was amazing!  Definitely a meal to remember. 

6:00- finish reading blogs, Alex plays with Eleanor, takes the pup out again.  I start on dishes and clean up.  Still laundry to do before my date with Jenna tonight. 

7:00pm- meet Jenna for coffee at Caribou.  Such a nice relaxing way to end a long day.  While I'm away Alex puts Eleanor to bed and it all begins again...

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fitting It In

Radio Silence over here today! I have been busy running around and having fun with my oldie but bestie Angie.  She has been in town visiting since Saturday and I have been soaking up all the friend time I can get...somehow still managing to take care of my baby and furbaby, and squeezing in work.  Rough life, huh?

When Eleanor cries, I always say to her in my silliest voice, "It's hard to be a baby," or "It's a hard knock life," or "Life's so hard."  I'm sure she hates me for mocking her like so.  I also find myself telling stories about her all day long.  In my mind I hear her saying "Stop talking about me Mom!" like I used to say to my mom All.The.Time.  In reality, I should have been flattered that my mom talked about me, I wonder if she is still telling stories about me.  I hope so.
Speaking of furbabies.  Look how big Penny is getting!  The stinker got a bath yesterday.  She's looking exceptionally cute these days.  We went for a long walk today and everyday she is getting better on the leash.  She is also improving with potty-training.  Having a puppy is a humbling experience.  I'm not sure I ever want to do this again.
And since we are catching up on the important people in my life...Alex is doing pretty great too.
Currently we are deep into our evening routine.  Eleanor goes down for bed.  Alex grades papers.  I catch up on work/blogs.  And then we settle into an episode of our new favorite: Top Chef.  We got bored waiting on more episodes from season 10 so we found season 9 online and right now I am anxiously awaiting the finale.  Will it be Paul or Lindsay?  Shhh...don't spoil it for me!
Here are more obligatory baby photos for you.  No she isn't sitting up on her own.  Not yet anyway.  But she certainly is getting big!  Eleanor's four month check up is tomorrow.  We'll see just how big she is.
I am so much in love with that sweet face!
She is getting super awesome at rolling over.  She can go back to stomach and stomach to back.  I know our days are limited before baby-proofing must begin.  Stay small my love...but grow big!  How I love thee!

Well, Happy Hump Day friends!  See you tomorrow!